A couple of days ago, Steve Bryant suggested that today would be “How I Got Started in ColdFusion day”. He claims every story he heard so far is interesting, so why not share mine? Here goes.
It was late 2005 when I applied for a job of Programmer at a company called Netbasics. Back then I used PHP as my server side tool to create dynamic websites, and had zero experience with ColdFusion. But I always wanted to be versatile in my knowledge and was promised that ColdFusion has a short learning curve. I started in Febuary 2006 and found that the learning curve is indeed quite short, meaning I was able to do some nice stuff within a couple of days.
As I learned more about ColdFusion, I noticed how different it is from other languages that I know. The syntax obviously, but also the way objects behave. Some of those characteristics I liked (cfquery, brilliant!), but some I really had to get used to (indexes start at 1, what’s that all about?). Working more and more in ColdFusion, I made it into a second nature and I really like it for being a great tool to develop dynamic web applications.
Besides that, I also find the community to be quite friendly and helpful. Ask a question on Twitter and you’ll usually get a response within the hour. There are a couple of people blogging about their experiences and providing useful tips and tricks which come in handy. This is especially valuable since the community isn’t really scattered: it appears as if everyone is on the same level. Sure, we all have our differences in approach, but we all understand and support each other. That I don’t find in any other community around a programming language (maybe jQuery, but that’s still pretty scattered as well).
I am still a nerd however, which makes me love the more programmatic syntax as well. Therefore I will probably never stop using PHP as a tool for my own little projects, even though cfscript has come a long way, especially with the latest versions of ColdFusion. But ColdFusion is simply brilliant, and I can’t wait to see where this technology is in, let’s say, five years.
What I think would really boost the usage of ColdFusion though, is the release of a ColdFusion Community Edition Server: free for non-profit or with less features than the current versions. The reason why starting programmers start with languages like PHP, is because those languages are easy to adopt and give a clear vision – cost wise – of what to expect once you want to bring your website online. For example, Apache, PHP, and MySQL is a really popular combination with people who start programming. And if you know one language, you are less likely to apply for a job that requires another, even when it clearly states you are free to learn it once you got the job. (I should really make a seperate post about this.)
All in all I’m really happy that I have gotten the chance to work with ColdFusion and predict its future will be even brighter than it is now (also thanks to integrated technologies like Apache Solr and the about to be adopted jQuery).